Bandcamp Picks of the Week 6/20/18

Bandcamp Picks of the Week, as large and in charge as ever

Bandcamp Picks of the Week Jonathan Bree

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Jonathan Bree – SLEEPWALKING

Genre: Chamber Pop

Favorite Tracks: “You’re So Cool,” “Say You Love Me Too,” “Characters,” “Valentine,” “Plucking Petals”

If the name Jonathan Bree sounds familiar, it might be from when his labelmate and collaborator Princess Chelsea accused St. Vincent of ripping off his costume style. Fortunately, Bree is not reliant on gimmicky plastic masks and mannequins: his delicate melodies, crooning baritone, and sparse approach to production result in a crisp, spellbinding experience. SLEEPWALKING is a great follow-up to A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, as Bree expands the latter’s classical experimentations, cuts out some of its bloat, and gives his stunning voice more clarity. The blubbery bass and steady drums are the perfect melodic foundation for the loaded soundscapes, especially on “You’re So Cool” and “Static.” While it’s not as dense as a Brunettes album, Bree still loads songs with glockenspiels, guitars, and guest vocalists, but he emphasizes them at the right moments for maximum atmospheric effect and knows when to let loose in discordant glee; the rising wave of strings and tempo change in the drums of “Plucking Petals” is the best example of this. It’s still very much a pop record, in the vein of an Ivy or Regina Spektor, but SLEEPWALKING’s sinister elegance makes it perfect night-time listening. If you want your music to sound like a music box in a horror movie, find it on Bandcamp here. [Blake Michelle]

Bandcamp Picks of the Week Say Sue Me

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Genre: Surf Rock

Favorite Tracks: “Old Town,” “B Lover,” “Here,” “Coming To The End”

South Korean rock act Say Sue Me have been kicking around since 2012, but they didn’t officially break stateside until their self-titled compilation record in last year, a pleasant if simple mix of vintage surf pop and smooth indie rock. Their latest, WHERE WE WERE TOGETHER, still finds the band forcing The Ventures and the Beach Boys into a feathery feedback fest of shoegazing rock and general ‘90s worship, but all that fuzziness finally elevates these songs far beyond their natural surf rock instincts. Choi Sumi’s vocals already invite Georgia Hubley comparisons, but even the band’s masterful transitions from quaint, head-bobbing dayglow ballads (“Let It Begin,” “Funny and Cute,” “Here”) to noisy, catchy-as-hell pop rock blitzes (“Old Town,” “B Lover”) are Yo La Tengo-esque in design and execution. The guitar solos define this record, a fantastical and diverse mix that sees Sumi and Kim Byungkyu take on everything from Dick Dale rippers (“I Just Wanna Dance”) to cascading yet clean indie noodling (“But I Like You”). WHERE WE WERE TOGETHER is genuinely fun, a mix of influences that collide with supremely satisfying results, and tracks like game show bop “Ours” and the searching guitar odyssey “Coming To The End” give texture to an album that offers a surprising number of looks while never straying far beyond the established formula. Say Sue Me delivered a blissed-out sea breeze, a 45-minute album that makes you grin and shimmy the entire time. Check out WHERE WE WERE TOGETHER on Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]

The good people of Crossfader Magazine.

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